I’m worried that South Dakota may not be getting its money’s worth from Governor Kristi Noem’s high-priced policy analyst Kennedy Noem. After jetting to New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, analyst Noem offered the public this top-level view of the characteristics she thinks South Dakota policies should support:
Wide open spaces—sure! I think we all can appreciate healthy expanses of native and restored prairie grasses and undisturbed mountain forests. But not one responsible public official or economic developer is sitting in her office in any town in South Dakota saying, “It’s too darn bad our population is so big.” Low population means less power in the House of Representatives, insufficient workforce, less economic growth, less sales tax and other revenue to support policy initiatives….
Maybe analyst Noem just thinks that having fewer people around makes it easier to hunt without worrying about accidentally shooting somebody. Maybe analyst Noem just wishes we could selectively suppress the population by getting rid of the growing number of people who disapprove of her boss’s job performance. Maybe analyst Noem is just glad not have lots of competition for her well-paying job.
A small-town mindset may make for aw-cute Facebook posts, but it contradicts the essence of her boss’s vague economic development goals. It doesn’t make sense to one moment say, “We want lots of people to come here and do business!” and the next to say, “Thank goodness there aren’t more people around here!”
If you don’t like having people around, maybe public service isn’t the right job for you.